Energy literacy activities to explore socioecological vulnerability and resilience in renewable energy transitions
This presentation will describe efforts to integrate research on the controversies over solar and wind energy deployment into educational activities that foster learning about the social and ecological impacts of renewable energy transitions, and possibilities to make socioecological systems more resilient. Too many educational activities around renewable energy focus largely, if not exclusively, on the greenhouse gas implications of renewable energy deployment. These clearly demonstrate the benefits of renewable energy. However, they do not equip students with the tools to differentiate project designs that increase socioecological vulnerability from renewable energy projects that have minimal impacts or even increase socioecological resilience.
There are arguably too few educational activities that capture the range of social and ecological impacts that fall beyond the questions about climate change such as environmental justice, land use change, or biodiversity impacts. Renewable energy projects have faced considerable social and ecological controversies upon deployment, and it is suggested here that introducing students to potential sites of conflict will help more broadly educate society about where to look for opportunities to design sustainable energy systems that minimize social and ecological conflicts.